Takin an adult trip to Disney World? Going with the kids but want to make sure the adults love the resort? The Best Disney Resort for Adults is one of our most difficult sections to judge. To make it simpler, we have broken it down by resort categories: deluxe, moderate and value.
Many of the criteria that we use to judge the best Disney resort for kids of various ages doesn’t apply to adults. Or at least it don’t matter quite as much. For example, we factor in location on the Monorail track heavily for babies and toddlers, that need to be carted around in a stroller. Adults on the other hand, don’t have any trouble boarding on a bus. Adults might rather be close to Epcot than Magic Kingdom, where there are more adult oriented attractions. And quality of food and drinks at the resort are likely more important than character dining.
The criteria we considered to select the best Disney resort for adults are: location, room quality, atmosphere, theme, dining quality, drinking quality.
The Deluxe Disney resorts and villas are: Animal Kingdom Lodge and Villas, Beach Club Resort and Villas, Board Walk Inn and Villas, Contemporary Resort and Bay Lake Tower, Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, Polynesian Village Resort, Villas and Bungalows, Wilderness Lodge and Villas, and Yacht Club Resort.
The Moderate Disney resorts are: Cabins at Fort Wilderness, Caribbean Beach Resort, Coronado Springs Resort, Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter, and Port Orleans Resort – Riverside.
The Value Disney resorts are: All-Star Movies Resort, All-Star Music Resort, All-Star Sports Resort, Art of Animation Resort, and Pop Century Resort.
Other resorts include: Swan Resort, Dolphin Resort, Old Key West (DVC), Saratoga Springs (DVC), and Fort Wilderness Campsite (campers only).
Ranking Disney World resorts is inherently controversial and arbitrary. Remember, these are our choices for best Disney World resorts for adults. We have different picks for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, school age kids, tweens and teens.
And, if you think we are off the mark, let us know in the comments!
The Best Deluxe Disney Resort For Adults
Beach Club Resort and Villas
Beach Club is our hands-down favorite Disney World resort for adults. The Beach Club is located in the Crescent Lake area or Epcot area. It shares some amenities with its sister resort, the Yacht Club.
The theming is of the quaint New England seaside cottages of the early 20th century. This light, bright beach theming is relaxing and energizing at the same time. This cottage theme breaks down a little inside the rooms, giving a cozy but out-dated feel – just like a real New England seaside cottage.
The atmosphere through out the resort is airy and whimsical, in contrast to its sister resort, which feels almost stuffy by comparison. It feels like the perfect atmosphere for a relaxing, Florida, adult resort.
Besides the theming and atmosphere, there’s a lot to like about Beach Club. The pool is widely considered to be the best pool in Disney World – and we agree. Called Storm-Along Bay, it is a sandy bottom pool (!!) that includes a lazy river and a great waterslide. The pool area occupies over 3 acres.
Location is another win for Beach Club. It’s a 10 minute walk to the less-used International Gateway entrance to Epcot (a.k.a. the “back entrance” to Epcot). Since Epcot is easily our favorite Disney World park for adults, it’s no surprise that our favorite Disney World resort for adults would be nearby, right? Hollywood Studios is also easily accessible; it’s a 15 minute walk or a short direct boat trip.
The location is not as good for Magic Kingdom, as it requires bus-service, which is shared with adjacent resorts and inconvenient. One way to circumvent this, however, is to walk to Epcot and take the monorail to Magic Kingdom. You’ll also have to bus to Animal Kingdom, but that’s true for pretty much all resorts except Animal Kingdom Lodge.
Last, but not least, is the dining. Although the Beach Club and Yacht Club technically each have their own restaurants, for practical purposes they are shared. The Yachtsman is a high-quality steak house, and one of our favorite Disney World restaurants. Other winning restaurants at Beach Club include Beaches and Cream, Cape May Cafe, and Crew’s Cup Lounge.
Another feature of Beach Club that makes it great for adults: on-site child care!
Runner Up: Grand Floridian
The Grand Floridian is Disney World’s Flagship resort, and also its most expensive. Grand Floridian – Grand Flo for short – has some passionate fans, and a lot of positives for adults. However, many don’t consider the difference in price to be commiserate with a difference in quality, compared to other resorts. We have an in-depth review available for you here.
The theming is elegant, meant to replicate old world Victorian styling. The decoration and detailing are intricate and ornate. The hotel was recently renovated, which helped make the theming feel less out-dated even though it mimics a by-gone era. However, the common areas, especially the main hall end up feeling a little stuffy.
The location of the Grand Flo is somewhat inconvenient to Epcot, but only a monorail stop away from Magic Kingdom. It’s also a short boat ride to Magic Kingdom. To get to Epcot, you’ll take the monorail to the TTC and then transfer to Epcot.
The Grand Floridian pools are quiet but fun, but not nearly as fun as Beach Club, in our opinion. Food at Grand Flo is excellent, and definitely rivals Beach Club. Victoria and Albert’s is located in Grand Flo, and is considered among the best restaurants in the country, let alone at Disney World.
The Grand Floridian also offers many additional adult friendly amenities including Boutique shopping, a beauty parlor and a full spa.
The Best Moderate Disney Resort For Adults
This is a very tough category to rank, as their are only four resorts, and each has pros and cons. Depending on how you value things like dining, theming, layout, and pool, your first choice may be our last and visa versa.
Having said that, the Best Moderate Disney Resort for adults is:
Port Orleans – Riverside
We rank Port Orleans – Riverside resort as the best Disney World moderate resort for a few specific reasons. First, the theming is on par with a Deluxe resort. Riverside is divided into Alligator Bayou, with untamed wilderness, and Magnolia Bend, featuring mansions with perfectly manicured gardens. The grounds are beautiful and feel luxurious and intimate. It’s a fun resort to explore.
The food at Port Orleans – Riverside is also excellent, with Boatwright’s restaurant and Riverside Mill food court. Entertainment is on par, with Yehaa Bob, who performs at the River Roost bar on select nights. Bob has long been considered a hidden gem at Walt Disney World by fans, and River Roost bar is a great place to have a drink and be entertained.
The rooms at Riverside are not quite as nice as recently renovated Caribbean Beach, but you’re not going to spend the day in your room, are you? Riverside has several pools. The main pool is large, and very nice, although the theming is bland.
The location of Riverside is somewhat inconvenient. You’ll have to take a bus to any of the theme parks. But, since this is a review for adults and you aren’t hauling kids, we didn’t make that a disqualifier. You can take a free water taxi to Disney Springs, which is a great adult activity.
Runner Up: Caribbean Beach Resort
Caribbean Beach was recently overhauled, and has some of the nicest rooms in the moderate resort category. So if a nice room is important, this a great choice. The theming of the the resort is lush, bright and tropical.
The pool is large, well themed, and among the best of the moderate resorts. You will also have to bus to any of the theme parks. We find the Caribbean to be lacking in the quality of dining compared to Port Orleans Riverside. For these reasons, it came in runner up.
Caribbean Beach also offered child care services.
The Best Value Disney Resort For Adults
This is another tough category because little separates the resorts. Rooms, layouts and theming are similar. You’ll have a similar experience at any, and will enjoy a good time.
Pop Century offers a more convenient (i.e. less spread out) layout and less gaudy rooms than its runner up resort, Art of Animation. Both resorts offer dedicated bus service (no stops at other resorts), but you’ll have to take a bus to each theme park.
The theming of Pop Century is admittedly not as good as Art of Animation, which takes the cake in theming for any Disney World Value resort. The pools are also second to Art of Animation, and there are several, all of them fun.
The food at Pop Century is barely better than Art of Animation. The food court is arguably the best on Disney property.
Runner up: Art of Animation
For a kids trip, Art of Animation is the clear winner. But for adults, we give it runner up, mainly because of it’s over the top, brightly colored, gaudy room theming. However, it boasts dedicated bus service (like our first choice, Pop Century), and it undeniably has the best pools in the Disney value resort category.
Did we miss YOUR favorite resort? Have other recommendations? Let us know in the comments.